DPD has announced Project BREATHE, an air quality monitoring programme focused on six of the UK’s largest cities. The project has already gone live in London and by the end of May will be joined by operations in Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Glasgow and Cardiff.
More than 1.5 million pollution readings per day will be delivered by a network of 400 sensors. In London, 100 mobile air quality sensors have been fitted to the roof of DPD vans, with 20 fixed units on DPD PickUp shops close to schools and children’s play areas. The compact sensors (similar in size to a broadband router) take readings every 12 seconds and will help to provide real-time data on air quality, which can be used to identify hotspots and influence clean air zone policy making.
The project focuses on dangerous particles of less than 2.5 microns in diameters – 1/20th the width of a human hair – which are most commonly linked to serious respiratory diseases. The UK roll-out is part of a wider European project in conjunction with Pollutrack, which will ultimately place 2,400 sensors across 20 European cities by the year-end.
Olly Craughan, DPD head of CSR, said: “BREATHE is a hugely significant project for us and complements our 2025 strategy to deliver via electric vehicles to 25 cities in the UK. We will be measuring air pollution using our existing city centre fleet and facilities. We will be providing real-time, breathing level readings that could help improve air quality for millions of people.
“We hope that local authorities, other key stakeholders and academics can utilise this data to help inform further research and local decision making. We are already working with the team behind the Birmingham Clean Air Zone and our data will play a key part in monitoring the real impact the zone makes, when it goes live on June 1, 2021.”